The Best of NYC’s 2016 Jewelry Market Week



The roster of jewelry events in late July brought the heat

Last week’s lineup of jewelry industry events in Manhattan was sizzling hot, and not just because the city was engulfed in a heat dome.

Between two trade shows (LUXURY Privé and JA New York), two gala dinners (the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Awards for Excellence and the American Gem Society’s Circle of Distinction dinner), and a constellation of smaller events that orbit these gatherings, I saw more jewels, celebrated more people, and devoured more hors d’oeuvres than seems humanly possible. Here are the highlights of my five days in the city.

Saturday, July 23

The week kicked off on Saturday, July 23, with a visit to the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, followed by a swanky dinner at designer Myriam Gumuchian’s castle-like home in the Forest Hills Gardens neighborhood of Queens.

Every year, she generously hosts a soiree on the eve of the shows, and I’ve been fortunate enough to snag an invite. Beyond its delicious food and bottomless glasses of rosé, the party afforded me an opportunity to catch up with National Jeweler editor-in-chief Michelle Graff, de Grisogono publicist Denise De Luca, and social media maven Benjamin Guttery, among a slew of good people from the jewelry biz (including my dear friend—and hot date—publicist Michelle Orman, pictured below!).

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Can you spot Michelle Orman’s polka-dot lighter?

Sunday, July 24

Nothing beats the gilded ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria as an event space—one reason why the LUXURY Privé show remains New York City’s most intimate high-end affair. The other reason for the show’s continued success is, of course, its exhibitors. It’s not every day you get to admire 15 ct. Colombian emeralds and fire opals with mesmerizing plays of color from a colored stone specialist such as 104-year-old Oscar Heyman, chic gold layering pieces from Los Angeles–based designer Ron Hami, and well-made diamond basics from the likes of Gabriel & Co. in a single well-appointed room.

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The 15 ct. “sugarloaf-ish” Colombian emerald cabochon at the heart of this $210,000 platinum ring by Oscar Heyman was among the finest jewels I came across at Luxury Privé.

Monday, July 25

The American Gem Trade Association’s 2016 Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards have historically taken place in October. This year, the organization switched things up and added them to the roster of events taking place in the Big Apple in July. Truth be told, I was less impressed by the entries than in years past (a few pieces were downright fugly), but there were still tons of great jewels to coo over—such as the Doryn Wallach pendant below!

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One of my favorite Spectrum entries: 18k yellow gold pendant with black marbled agate set with a 15 mm South Sea cultured pearl and 0.8 ct. t.w. diamonds; Doryn Wallach

Later that night, when I arrived at the Hammerstein Ballroom for the WJA Awards for Excellence in the tapering drizzle of a late-afternoon downpour, I was pleased to see that the event, temporarily relocated from its longtime home at Chelsea Piers, had lost none of its trademark glamour. A special congrats to award winners Jen Cullen Williams of Luxury Brand Group in the marketing and communications category; Michelle Peranteau, formerly of Baume & Mercier and now with Harry Winston, in the watches category; and Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale, co-owners of New York City’s Greenwich St. Jewelers, in the retail (15 or fewer doors) category.

Tuesday, July 26

On Tuesday morning, I met a handful of budding makers at the JA New York show’s new designer gallery, including Acanthus (by designer Nichole McIver) and Rachael Sarc (by designer Rachael Clark), as well as my Instagram buddy Elisa Solomon, an established designer new to the show circuit. Don’t fail to check out their work, which is rich in spectacular colored stones, charming motifs, and interesting techniques (i.e., keum-boo, an ancient Korean gold-fusing technique favored by Acanthus).

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Nichole McIver, the designer behind St. Cloud, Minn.–based Acanthus, specializes in keum-boo, a Korean metalsmithing technique that fuses 24k gold with silver.

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I’ve been a fan of Elisa Solomon’s animal-inspired layering necklaces and gem-set rings ever since I started following her on Instagram, so it was a special treat to meet the New Jersey–based designer in person.

Wednesday, July 27

I concluded my week of jewelry gazing at Harry Winston’s flagship salon, where a 39.98 ct. D, IF pear-shape diamond solitaire ring in the salon’s big diamond showcase called my name.

“Are you getting married?” asked a wide-eyed little girl when she saw me trying it on.

“I wish!” I replied as I glanced at the ring’s $18,620,000 price tag. “But I’m nowhere near that lucky.”

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This Instagram pic of the 39.98 ct. D, IF diamond I glimpsed at the Harry Winston salon has earned 100 likes—and counting.